#fiction, #literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, thriller, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: Grace is Gone by Emily Elgar.

Title: Grace is Gone

Author: Emily Elgar

Length: 342 pages

Publisher: Sphere Books

Synopsis: Meg and her daughter Grace are the most beloved family in Ashford, the lynchpin that holds the community together. So when Meg is found brutally murdered and her daughter missing, the town is rocked by the crime. Not at least because Grace has been sick for years – and may only have days to live. Who would murder a mother who sacrificed everything, and separate a teenager from the medication that could save her life? Everyone is searching for an answer, but sometimes the truth can kill you…

This is going to be a hard book to review because I did like it. Well I liked a part of it. But I definitely didn’t love it. I’ll explain why.

Let’s start with what I liked. It was actually only one thing. But I liked the main mystery. I wanted to know what happened to Meg and where Grace was and who took her. I was genuinely intrigued to see what happened. It kept me reading through the things I didn’t like.

So shall we talk about the things I didn’t like? Yeah, let’s go for it. The story is told from two different perspectives, Cara and Jon, and I didn’t care about either of them. At all. There was a whole subplot of Jon’s marriage breaking down and it was unnecessary in this novel. I really didn’t care at all.

The ending that I was intrigued to know. I guessed what happened and I was right. It didn’t stop me from reading because I wanted it to be confirmed. But once the Meg and Grace ending is revealed, we were left with Jons ending. Not only did I not care, I also found it silly. I was reading it thinking ‘really’?? It felt like the author was just going for suspense and shock.

I just felt like it had all been done before. It felt like once Cara and Jon got a tiny clue, the suddenly solved the whole mystery quickly. The author even tried to put a little twist on the character of Grace in the epilogue and it made me realise I would’ve preferred the story to be told from Graces perspective. It would’ve made this story so much better and more layered and intense.

I don’t know if I’d recommend this one. I probably would, it was quick read and like I said it was intriguing for some of the book. You might love it. If you do let me know.

Thank you to Millie and Sphere books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out September 3rd.

Until the next review

JTH

#fiction, #literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, Uncategorised, ya

ARC Book Review: Who They Was by Gabriel Krauze

Title: Who They Was

Author: Gabriel Krauze

Length: 336 pages

Publisher: 4th Estate

Synopsis: This is a story of London you won’t find in any guide books. This is a story about what it’s like to exist in the moment, about boys to eager to become men, growing up in the hidden war zones of big cities – and the girls trying to make it their own way. This is a story of redemptions made and lost, of violence and vengeance – and never counting the cost. This is a story of concrete towers and blank eyed windows, of endless nights in police custody and prison cells, of brotherhood and betrayal. This is about the boredom, the rush, the despair, the fears and the hopes. This is about what’s left behind.

I’ve never read a book like this. How often do we get to say this as a book blogger? But I can honestly say I never have. It’s one of a kind. You’ll never read another book like this.

It’s totally immersive. It’s set in South London and follows Gabriel as he is a member of gangs and violence. It does take some getting used to in the beginning, but once you do it’s absolutely fantastic. You become accustomed to the slang and the dialogue. This is what makes this book so different.

I will say this book is an uncomfortable, brutal read. And I mean that In the best way. But this definitely isn’t any easy read. And we can’t forget the Gabriel Krauze is writing this book from his own experience or things, which is incredible. It really adds another layer to this story. This book literally opens with the main character violently robbing someone, see I told you it’s brutal. But it doesn’t take anything away from this hard-hitting novel.

As the book progresses, Krauze’s story becomes more of a redemption arc, as he is encouraged to leave the life of violence and gang life behind and focus on this studies. He’s continued to study English Literature at university and the juxtaposition between the separate parts of his life is fascinating.

I just want you to read this unique book. Because it’s so different and immersive, it makes it unforgettable. I know I’ll always remember this book. It’s also just been long listed for the Booker Prize and I’d love it to be shortlisted.

Thank you to Matt at 4th Estate Books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out September 3rd (today).

Until the next review

JTH

#fantasy, #fiction, #literature, #yafantasy, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

August Wrap Up

Another month has come and gone. Don’t they just fly by! We had a mini heatwave at the beginning of August and I found it hard to read. All I wanted to do was sleep. But I always want to sleep no matter the weather so I shouldn’t use that as an excuse.

I’ve managed to read eight books this month. Eight isn’t bad. And there’s been a few I’ve read this month that I really enjoyed. I don’t usually read thrillers, but I read three in a row! And I enjoyed two of them.

So let’s talk about these books shall we?

The first book I read was Fin & Rye & Fireflies by Harry Cook. What a great way to start the month. A super sweet gay YA novel. I really enjoyed it. I loved the love story. This one is out now and you can check out my full review here.

Then I read 10 minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak. I can’t stop thinking about this book. It was brilliant. Stunning writing, visceral story and fascinating characters. I’ll be looking out for more Elif novels. She’s a genius.

I then read How It All Blew Up by Armin Ahmadi. I was halfway through and I friend told me that the author is problematic, so I didn’t want to read it anymore, which I didn’t mind because it wasn’t very good. I could see what it was trying to do, but it failed.

Then I read This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. I had absolutely no idea what was going on but I loved it. A beautiful, epic love story set in an epic world. I highly recommend this one.

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace. This was sooooo good. It’s everything I want in a YA fantasy plus it has mermaids! Good mermaids. Definitely don’t miss this one. It’s out now. Check out my full review here.

I then moved onto An Inconvenient Woman by Stéphanie Buelens. This was a great thriller that I couldn’t put down. It was fantastic. It also has a lot of heart which gives it another layer. This one is out September 3rd.

Surrender your Sons by Adam Sass. A queer YA book like I’ve never read before. It’s got a dark subject matter but I really did enjoy this one. I definitely recommend this one to you. It’s out September 15th.

Grace is Gone by Emily Elgar. I get what this book was trying to do and it was nearly there but for me it mostly missed the mark. Parts of it definitely intrigued me, but most of it I didn’t care about. But I definitely wanted to see how it ended. It’s out on paperback September 3rd.

Now I can’t wait to see what books September brings my way. Have you read any of these? Or are you interested in them? Let me know…

Until the next review

JTH

author, blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, historical fiction, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review Blog Tour: The Tuscan Contessa by Dinah Jeffries

Title: The Tuscan Contessa

Author: Dinah Jeffries

Length: 350 pages

Publisher: Penguin

Synopsis: Contessa Sofia de’ Corsi’s peaceful Tuscan home has been upturned by the arrival of German soldiers. Desperate to fight back, she provides shelter, medical aid and any help she can, keeping her efforts secret from husband Lorenzo – who is also passing information to the Allies. When Maxine, an Italian-American working for the resistance, arrives on Sofia’s doorstep, the pair forge an uneasy alliance. Practical, no-nonsense Maxine promised herself never to fall in love. But when she meets a young partisan named Marco, she realises it’s a promise she can’t keep. Before long, the two women find themselves entangled in a dangerous game with the Nazis. Will they be discovered? And will they both be able to save the ones they love?

I’m super thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for this book, here’s the other book bloggers for you to check out there posts.

Dinah Jeffries has done it again. How does she manage to do it? Another fantastic novel. I was hooked from start to finish.

The Tuscan Contessa has a riveting story, following Sofia and Maxine as they both help in the effort to defeat the Nazis in World War Two. The story is full of twist and turns that will keep you turning the pages. It’s a well paced plot that is full of mystery, intrigue and romance.

Here’s what amazes me about Dinahs writing, she always makes me want to go visit these beautiful places. She describes them so wonderfully and richly that just makes me want to visit. But obviously with this book being set during World War Two, things happen and Dinah manages the two beautifully. She really captures the beauty and the brutality.

Sofia and Maxine are two fantastic characters to follow. Dinah has written two strong female characters, who aren’t afraid to be vulnerable and it’s fantastic to read. There’s also a romance that runs throughout the book, that is lovely to read, but filled with tension because of the time the book is set in. It’s such an atmospheric book.

I won’t ruin the ending for you, but it was intense, heartbreaking and so satisfying. It’s built up throughout the whole novel and certainly isn’t a let down. But I’ll let you discover what happens when you read it.

I definitely recommend this book. It’s the perfect book to get lost in, you’ll travel to a different time and place and get totally lost in the story. It’s out now.

Thank you to Penguin for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review.

Until the next review

JTH

author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, gay, lgbt, queer, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

ARC Book Review: All Of My Friends Are Rich by Michael Sarais

Title: All Of My Friends Are Rich

Author: Michael Sarais

Length: 293 pages

Synopsis: Orphan Leo Cotton has finally built a family, but the advent of bipolar and depression wakes him from this dream life to reveal dark truths about the man he’d married. One year later, Leo is lost. Embarrassed by a dead-end job that barely pays the bills, he can’t help but notice that those around him are all enjoying success. When his closet friend, Sara, asks him to be her best man, Leo reaches the last straw: how can he possibly afford these lavish festivities on his wages? A Grindr chance encounter reveals that a shortcut to riches does not exist… but in the end, this reckless route may cost him loved-ones he aims to impress and welcome terrible danger..

What a book!!

This is one of those books that just captured my heart with its great characters, it’s intriguing story and important message. All of my Friends Are Rich by Michael Sarais is a must read.

The main character is called Leo and I loved him. He’s was such a great character to follow. He was funny, honest and relatable. This is down to Michael, as he’s crafted a great character that has sincerity, especially when you find out the stories conclusion. I think a lot of people will be able to see themselves in Leo, for many reasons.

I love the friendship between Leo and his best friend Sara. They have the kind of friendship we all crave. It’s funny, real and has a real depth of sincerity to it. There’s this really sweet, powerful scene towards the end of the book and it made me cry. It was just profound honesty.

There was a romance in this book that I just adored. Oh boy, I was rooting for them to be together. I won’t spoil the ending and tell you if they do.

This book was very sexually graphic, which isn’t normally my kind of thing, but there was definitely reasoning behind it and it wasn’t in the book unnecessarily. And I’m not gonna lie, the sex scenes were hot! It all led to something more meaningful which I really liked, I explain a bit more about that in the paragraph below.

Here’s what I really liked about this book, is what it says about Mental Health. When I realised that Leo was actually having an episode, it brought the whole story together. It made everything he did make sense, it gave it context and a deeper meaning and I loved it. It shocked me a little that I missed it, but it really made the novel for me to be honest. It’s the perfect reminder how important it is to get help.

This is Michaels debut novel and it really packs a punch. Its full of heart, friendship. Michael has written a beautiful story, which perfectly showcases his talent as a writer. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

I definitely recommend this novel. It’s fun, sexy and it’s got something to say. I loved it. Make sure you definitely pick a copy of this book.

I was lucky to given a copy of this book by the author in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now. Don’t miss this one.

Until the next review

JTH

#fiction, #literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, historical fiction, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore.

Title: Valentine

Author: Elizabeth Wetmore

Length: 320 pages

Publisher: 4th Estate books

Synopsis: Mary Rose Whitehead isn’t looking for trouble – but when it shows up at her front door, she finds she can’t turn away. Corinne Shepherd, newly widowed, wants nothing more than to mind her own business, and for everyone else to mind theirs. But when the town she has spent years rebelling against closes ranks she realises she is going to have to take a side. Debra Ann is motherless and lonely and in need of a friend. But in a place like Odessa, Texas, choosing who to trust is a dangerous game. Gloria Ramírez, fourteen years old and out of her depth, survives the brutality of one man only to face the indifferences and prejudices of many. When justice is as slippery as oil, and kindness becomes a hazardous act, sometimes courage is all we have to keep us alive.

This is an incredibly powerful novel, with all the characters connecting around Glory, who has been attacked and turns up at the nearest house, after fighting back fleeing for her life.

Valentine is told through the perspectives of many characters, and it works perfectly. Wetmore weaves the story through all these perspectives and it elevates this story to another level. There was maybe one perspective that didn’t need to be there, it didn’t diminish the story in anyway, but i found myself wanting to skip it.

Each perspectives also reveals how a character is dealing with their own issues, as well as the effect the crime is having on the town. Mary Rose, who is answers the door to Glory and Corrine who just wants to be left alone to grieve her husband, are two of the standouts for me.

You can tell this novel is building to something, and I thought it would be the trial for Glory’s case, which it dealt with, but it went beyond what I was expecting and I found myself not being able to turn the pages fast enough. I’m not going to give anything away, or all the perspectives but it all came together so well.

Wetmore has created some fantastic characters that are real and heartfelt. You’ll root for them. Wetmore also captures the injustice and racism in a small town perfectly. This book at times will make your blood boil. This is a debut novel and it’s fantastic how much heart Elizabeth has managed to include.

I also can’t think of another novel that finishes so well, yet left me with some many questions. Some of the story was wrapped, but I wanted to know more about the characters I’d come to care for. It was a satisfying ending in many ways, but I can’t deny it left me wanting more.

I would definitely recommend this book, it’s raw and impactful. I think it’s a book you won’t forget for a while after reading it. It has something to say, in the many layers of this book.

Thank you to 4th Estate Books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review

JTH

#fantasy, #fiction, #literature, author, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

WWW Wednesday- 20th May

I haven’t done one of these posts in such a long time. So I figured I’d have a go. It’s just a little update where I’m at with my reading.

What is WWW Wednesday? WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme where all you have to do is answer three simple questions. Look at me using the word meme! I feel so young!

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you finished reading recently?
  • What are you planning to read next?

So let’s get started

What are you currently reading?

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. Well I have to be honest and say I’m not reading this. I’m still waiting for it to arrive. I’m literally sitting looking out of the window waiting for the postman to arrive. But I will be picking it up as soon as it arrives. I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time.

What have you finished reading recently?

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart. I finished this late last night as I couldn’t put it down. While it took me a little while to get into it, once I did it was brilliant. It really did break my heart. This one is out August 6th.

What are you reading next?

I always find this question so hard because I never know what to read next, but I think I’m going to try and get through my arcs ‘The Great Godden’ by… I’ve heard nothing but good things and I want to experience it for myself. It’s out July 7th.

So that’s it, that’s my reading week I guess. I wonder how long it will take me to read ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’. I plan on doing nothing else.

Let me know what you’re reading.

Until the next review

JTH

#fiction, #literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, historical fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

ARC Book Review: People Like Us by Louise Fein

Title: People Like Us

Author: Louise Fein

Length: 496 pages

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Synopsis: Leipzig, 1930s Germany: Hetty Heinrich is a perfect German child. Her father is an SS officer, her brother is in the Luftwaffe. She believes resolutely in her country, and the man who runs it. But Walter changes everything. Blond-haired, blue-eyed, perfect-in-every-way Walter. The boy who saved her life. A Jew. As Hetty falls more deeply in love with a man who is against all she has been taught, she begins to fight against her country, her family and herself. Hetty will have to risk everything to save Walter, even if it means sacrificing herself…

I have to say I really enjoyed this novel.

There were many elements to this book, but for it to really work, it all depends on the love story. I have to be honest and say Hetty and Walter fell in love pretty quickly, I can say I believed it. Especially as the novel went on. It was a sweet romance, that I wanted to have a happy ending.

Hetty is a great character to follow. I really believed she was following her heart and I loved the slow, gradual build up of strength to fight for what she felt was right. It was a beautiful transition to read. I also loved her friend, Erna. I Loved that she was a resistance fighter. I adored the friendship they had. I loved the connection. between these two characters.

I though it was really interesting to place this novel at the time of the rise of the Nazi and not the war. It gave it a different perspective and I loved it. Also the the fact that her dad was SS officer was also a great plot point for these characters to be in. There was a great moment between Hetty and Erna where they told each other about being in the resistance and they weren’t sure if they could trust each other.

The ending. I’m not going to spoil anything but they really made me cry. You just find out so much, and it’s done in the most heartfelt way. It’s a testament to the writing and made me really realise how much I believed in the characters on this book. I was really pleased with the ending. I actually really think it was the perfect ending.

Louise has written a very atmospheric book, that captures the fear and hatred but it also manages to hold onto hope and love. It’s filled with lots of historical details, which I absolutely loved.

I can’t recommend enough. For fans of historical fiction and romance. It’s beautiful with a great ending.

Thanks too Head of Zeus for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now on ebook and comes out in August if you’d like a physical copy.

Until the next review

JTH

#literature, author, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, historical fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya

ARC Book Review + Blog Tour: The Forgotten Sister by Nicola Cornick

Title: The Forgotten Sister

Author: Nicola Cornick

Length: 400 pages

Publisher: HQ

Synopsis: 1560: Amy Robsart is trapped in a loveless marriage to Robert Dudley, a member of the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Surrounded by enemies and with nowhere left to turn. Amy hatches a desperate scheme to escape- one with devastating consequences that will echo through the centuries. Present day: When Lizzie Kingdom is forced to withdraw from the public eye in a blaze of scandal, it seems her life is over. But she’s about to encounter a young man, Johnny Robsart, whose fate will interlace with hers in the most unexpected of ways. For Johnny is certain that Lizzie is linked to a terrible secret dating back to Tudor times. If Lizzie is brave enough to go in search of the truth, then what she discovers will change the course of their lives forever.

I am super excited to be on the Blog Tour for this book with HQ and all these other wonderful bloggers, so make sure you check them out.

Told in two different periods of History, we follow Issey (present day) and Amy (1545) as one tries to clear her name, and the other fights to get her life back.

I love historical fiction and the premise for this book sounded so good, and very intriguing. It certainly didn’t disappoint.

I definitely connected, and was much more interested in the present day storyline than the 1945 storyline at the beginning. The present day was really gripping and it had so many twists and turns that I just never knew what was going to happen. I loved it. Throughout the novel I was interested to see how they would connect. I was a little unsure at first about the ‘psychic’ element to the book, but it was done really well and I ended up enjoying it. It added another level to this book.

Both Issey and Amy were both fantastic to follow. They were both so different, yet fighting for the same thing, the life they both actually want. They were both so strong, and I love the character development of Issey. I love to read about a character that really gets to know themselves and it was done really well in this book.

I loved also that Amy was a real life person (as are most of the characters in the historical fiction part of the book) but no one knows what happened to Amy and I love that Nicola decided to give her a voice, it makes my history loving heart very happy.

I don’t want to give too much away and spoil it for you, you’ll find out what happens when you read it but I really enjoyed the ending. I definitely didn’t see it coming, but it made total sense. Then it wrapped it up really nicely and sweetly. I also love that the same names were you used in both periods in the book. I thought that was really clever.

I would definitely recommend this book. It’s perfect for fans of historical fiction, who love some mystery and romance.

Thanks for HQ for the copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review

JTH

#literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, historical fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya

ARC Book Review: The Prisoner’s Wife by Maggie Brookes

Title: The Prisoner’s Wife

Author: Maggie Brookes

Length: 396 pages

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Synopsis: 1944, Czechoslovakia. In the dead of night, a Czech farm girl and a British soldier creep through abandoned villages. They were never mean to meet, let alone fall in love. But when Bill was brought to work on Izobela’s family farm as a prisoner of war, their chemistry was undeniable. Before they could be torn apart forever, they marry in secret and go on the run. Their only hope for safety is to reach Izobela’s father and brother, fighting deep in the countryside as partisans. But when their luck runs out, they are delivered straight into the hands of the Nazis. But they still refuse to separate, and have prepared for this moment. Izobela’s hair has been shorn and she wears men’s clothing, posing as an escaped and mute British soldier. The secret lovers are transported to a Nazi POW camp deep in German territory, and if Izabela is discovered, a fate far worse than death awaits both her and Bill. The gravity of the their situation soon becomes chillingly apparent, and it will require the help of their fellow POW to maintain their deception, and all their love, devotion and strength to withstand the trails to come. Because should they fail, Izobela and Bill will have put far more than just themselves in danger…

In The Prisoner’s Wife we follow the story of Izzy, a Czech farm girl and Bill, a prisoner of war. As they fall in love and begin an epic journey and a fight for their survival.

This book turned up at my door as a surprise and I’m so glad it did. It was a thrilling, heart wrenching yet beautiful read. I couldn’t put it down, but I didn’t want it to end.

The love story between Bill and Izzy is one for the ages. It was so tender, passionate and generous. They sacrificed so much for each other. It was beautifully written as well, it was understated and it made more believeable. They never give up fighting for each other. You are willing them to survive, so they can have wonderful life together.

I absolutely loved how the fellow British POWs helped protect Izzy as she hid in Bills camp to stay close to him (see I told you it was a great love story). It gave the novel a real uplifting feel. I also loved how Bill, Izzy, Max, and Ralph became such a team. It was a joy to read. I wanted them all to survive and stay together. They way the all looked out for Izzy and each other was absolutely fantastic. It was the highlight of the novel for me. It really captures the tenacity of the human spirit. Maggie managed to create some tender moments for them amongst the brutality.

This historical fiction novel has been researched meticulously and it adds so much to the story. Maggie has made the story so detailed and accurate, it was outstanding. There are many books out there set in this period of history, but I haven’t read any from the British POW point of view and I loved it. It was so refreshing to see a different side to this story.

The fact that is book is based on a true story makes it all the more heartbreaking. Maggie perfectly captures the horror these POWs had to go through yet when you finish the book, you are somehow filled with hope. It’s a testament to the great writing.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s everything you want it to be. I’ve read a lot of historical fiction novels this year, and it’s definitely one of the best. You won’t to miss this one.

This book is being published on April 16th, in time for the 75th anniversary of VE Day (May 8th) and the end of WWII.

Thank you so much to Penguin Random House for sending me this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out April 16th (now).

Until the next review

JTH